Getting to Know Dexter Bean
Dexter Bean signing autographs, 2009
PLEASE NOTE: ALL PICTURES USED WITH PERMISSION FROM DEXTER BEAN
By Dominic Aragon
Dexter Bean, like many NASCAR drivers, has had a unique climb to the top of the sport. For Dexter Bean, that is no exception. Bean grew up in Wisconsin, the state that Matt Kenseth and Scott Wimmer are from. “When I was younger, I got into go-karts,” recalls Bean. “I always had a dream of driving a stock car.”
Bean raced late model cars and eventually moved up to the ARCA racing series, which is often considered the 4th highest series in ranks to Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Trucks. When he moved up to ARCA, he recalls the experience as exciting. “I thought we were going to stay local, but the family decided to do something bigger and better. It was exciting for the hometown and cool to race against the big timers.” He raced 22 of 23 races in 2006, scoring 5 top-10 runs and 12th in points.
Also in 2006, Bean debuted in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, making it with Jeff Spraker. He started 37th and finished 32nd 6 laps down. “That was an exciting event. We got a Jay Robinson Racing Ford. We worked on it for two weeks and took it to Memphis. We made the race and it was exciting. Bringing the car home in one piece was the goal.”
Through 2007 and 2008, Bean raced all 44 ARCA sanctioned events, racking in seven top-5s and sixteen top-10 runs. Bean scored his best career finish in ARCA at Salem in 2007, remembering that he ran up front, had great pit stops, and a great car; but just ran out of time.
As the Sprint Cup “silly season” for 2008 was underway, teams were merging and shutting down. Most notably, Bill Davis Racing, which most notably scored the 2002 Daytona 500 win, shutdown as longtime sponsor CAT moved over to RCR. As teams were coming to an end, many teams were being born into the Sprint Cup spotlight. Teams like Mayfield Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing, The Racer’s Group, and Gunselman Motorsports to name a few were new teams to try and make a successful 2009 campaign. Among those teams was an up and coming team from Wisconsin named BlackJack Racing.
Like most teams, BlackJack Racing was trying to be as competitive as can be, without starting and parking for funding. “We had some money to do some racing [in Sprint Cup] in 2009,” said Bean. “We were looking at some deals. We had to try and land funding. My dad made some purchases at the end of 2008, buying four [Dodge] cars from Ganassi. We hired some guys to work on the cars.” Like most Sprint Cup goals for new teams, Bean recalls that the team’s original goal was to try and lock into the top-35 in owner points with him at the wheel. But, due to lack of experience, Bean was not approved by NASCAR to try for the Daytona 500 or the Auto Club 500, as he was only approved for 1.5 mile tracks. The team attempted the Daytona 500 with Kelly Bires, the Auto Club 500 with David Starr, and the Shelby 427 with Bean, with all attempts unsuccessful. The team would then attempt Phoenix in April with Bean, missing the field; but BlackJack’s lucky break would come at Pocono.
Qualifying was rained out for the June Pocono race, so the top-43 teams in owner points would make the race. Fortunately, the team would make its debut, and would start in 43rd spot. “There were a lot of question marks going into the race, but we were excited. I had some of my ARCA buddies (Frank Kimmel, Andy Hillenburg) congratulating me on making the race. We hoped that we could do good.” It was definitely a learning day for the team, as Dexter finished 36th, five laps down. “We were a little off the pace. We made some adjustments and were a few laps down.” Bean said it was also cool to see the leaders going by acknowledging that he was racing clean by waving to him outside the window net. He also likes the thought that in his only Sprint Cup race, he beat Kurt Busch, the 2004 Cup champ; and Denny Hamlin, a five time winner at Pocono. Bean says the Pocono race gave he and the team confidence, but his next two attempts in 2009 would come up short at Chicagoland and New Hampshire.
Currently, Bean has not raced in any national touring events in 2010. However, Bean is looking for a ride in ARCA, and hopes that his parents team can get back to the track soon. “We are working on landing sponsors. The truck series would be the best to get into. We need to be in the NASCAR picture. We are out of date with our Sprint Cup car, because the nose is an older style, and not legal for NASCAR.” As for a return for BlackJack Racing, Bean says not this year, but hopefully soon.
Dexter Bean on other things:
Q: You don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but what do you guys do for the bathroom, because I have a theory that its like when your working on a hot day -- you drink a lot of water and don’t need the bathroom, because your body needs it. Is that in some sense true?
A: (Laughs) It's kind of like that. But sometimes you need it, but you cannot think about it. When I made the Pocono race, that was one of concerns, since it is a 500 mile race, and the most I ran was 200-300. I was worried, but sometimes there is no time to think about that stuff. Some times you just got to hold it.
Q: Since some top-35 teams are now locked into the Sprint Cup races start and park, if called upon, would you ever consider doing a start and park effort with Robby Gordon Motorsports or The Racer’s Group to get some Sprint Cup experience?
A: Well, I start and parked in the truck a few times. It’s good to get laps in, but it sucks knowing that you wont get to the end. You can always use the seat time, and I guess I would do it to get back into the picture.
Q: You hear all the time that drivers don’t have good equipment and some drivers would do better with other teams. From a driver’s point of view, on a 100% rating system, what is more of a factor, equipment or driver skill.
A: Well, you cant bring a car to the track without an engine, cause you cant run (laughs). But I would say 60% equipment and 40% driver.
Q: So, hypothetically speaking, if you were to get into a Hendrick Motorsports car, would you qualify a lot better?
A: Definitely. I’m not saying I would be the best out there, but I would definitely have a chance to qualify better. I wouldn’t have to worry about stuff that a small team would have to. I wouldn’t have to worry about messing up the engine, or worry about being [soft] on the equipment.
Junk food: Cheese Puffs
Vacation spot: Las Vegas
Music: Rock n Roll
Dream car: New Cadillac PTFG P Series
Favorite 2010 Cup paint scheme: #82 Scott Speed, Red Bull
Worst: #42 Juan Montoya, Target Reverse (Ran at Bud Shootout)
First concert: Brooks and Dunn
Favorite track: Salem --- I Enjoyed it. It was fun and I had a lot of great races there. Its demanding. Pocono would be second.
Bean's former ARCA car.
Bean preparing for the Pocono race, his only Cup start to date.
Racing at the 2009 Pocono race.
Getting ready for Phoenix.
Bean's 2009 Truck.
LiveWire Energy Chews has been a proud sponsor of Dexter Bean.